She was only 22 years old, just a few years older than me, and no matter how young, hip and relatable, she was my teacher. For my freshman year of high school, I transferred to Vail Mountain School, a private K-12, where Spanish instruction begins in Kindergarten. Between my lack of exposure to Spanish and my utter lack of affinity to learn the language, I landed a seat in Ms. Welch’s remedial Spanish class.
Ms. Welch passionately implemented a “Spanish only” rule. Despite her casual demeanor, youthful energy and evident passion for the outdoors, I wasn’t a fan of this “Spanish only” thing. Frustrated by the challenge to understand the most basic of conversations, I could have never imagined where the two of us would be twelve years down the road.
Since graduating from the rigorous, yet intimate school, (my graduating class was just 21 students), where outdoor recreation was ingrained in the curriculum, I’ve gravitated to opportunities that push me to discovery – physically, introspectively and geographically.
Bikes break all kinds of barriers. They allow us to get from point A to point B. They bring people of all kinds of professions, ages and interests together. And for me, Ms. Welch became Betsy.
Ms. Welch and I reconnected last summer on the Steamboat Ramble Ride, a three-day gravel ride from Fort Collins to Steamboat Springs in Colorado. Each day we found ourselves pedaling at the same pace, endlessly talking. We shared past adventures, discussed our ideal lifestyle, and solved the world’s problems mile after mile. We could have kept pedaling and kept sorting through each of our lives forever, but upon arriving in Steamboat Springs and ultimately finishing the ride we agreed to partner up again for a trip in the future to continue where we left off.